March 7 hearing set for Gardnerville Ranchos project

Nevada replaced a Muller Lane bridge over the West Fork of the Carson River for $1.4 million in 2018.

Nevada replaced a Muller Lane bridge over the West Fork of the Carson River for $1.4 million in 2018.

An 85-unit subdivision on first of five parcels slated for development in the Douglas County Master Plan along the eastern and southern edges of the Gardnerville Ranchos is seeking approval from county commissioners.

On Feb. 1 an ordinance was introduced for a subdivision on 33.2 acres just north of Main River Road.

Planning commissioners recommended the project at their Jan. 9 meeting.

A public hearing on the project will be conducted by county commissioners at their March 7 meeting. 

The parcel is the northernmost of those owned by Ranchos LLC, managed by Keith Serpa. The company is listed as the owner of 469 acres of land zoned receiving area east and south of the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Receiving area allows developers to increase density on parcels by purchasing development rights from agricultural property. The transfer of those rights removes them from the ranch land, but also includes bonuses. 

The property was purchased for $20 million by Ranchos LLC 20 years ago after the partnership that purchased it two years earlier broke up.

Receiving area allows up to 16 units per acre, but the project before county commissioners next month is seeking an average of 12,000 square foot lots which translates into three units per acre.

Concerns about traffic both near the project and at the intersection of Highway 395 and Riverview have been raised.

A 2010 appeal of property tax on the parcels cited construction of a bridge be built over the East Fork of the Carson River to Highway 395 to serve as access to the property separate from the current Riverview bridge. 

The first of the original property to receive approval for a 239-unit parcel was given a two-year extension on Feb. 1 after then developer agreed to improve a bridge more than a mile away to provide a second access.

Rancho Sierra received a two-year extension to record its first final map to Dec. 31, 2026, after engineer Ryan Sims confirmed the Dressler Lane bridge would be improved.

The bridge over the West Fork is rated at 3 tons, which isn’t sufficient for anything but light vehicles. Commissioners included a provision that the bridge must handle up to 35.7 tons, which would allow use by any fire apparatus and most large construction equipment.

While no estimate on the cost of improving the Dressler Lane bridge was included in the presentation, a similar bridge on Muller Lane cost $1.4 million to replace in 2018.

“The bridge would have to meet county, state and federal requirements for bridges,” Sims said.

Sims, who was representing the project at last week’s commission meeting, said that with the second phase the developer must also improve Heritage Lane 1.5 miles south to the bridge to provide an alternate access.

Had county commissioners denied the extension, Planner Lucille Rao said developers would have had to record a map for the 20-home first phase by the end of the year.

Sims said the developer was seeking the delay due to economic conditions.

“The current housing conditions are high interest rates and home sales are low,” Sims said. “So, the developer is asking for an extension so we can properly construct the improvements and not have them sit there while we wait for house customers.”

Owner Steve Ryckebosch of Ranchos Sierra Group said this is the second time since purchasing the property in 2007 that economic conditions are raising issues for the project.

“It’s getting a little tricky,” he said. “Once interest rates start dropping, you’re going to see a flurry of development.”

The project has a letter of intent to provide water from the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District. The district would also convey sewer to the Minden-Gardnerville Sanitation District.

The project is subject to the growth management ordinance and would have to transfer development rights for 235 units.


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